North Dakota State University's Northern Plains Ethics Institute is about to begin a specialized training program to help nonprofits operate more efficiently.
The project, titled "Training Nonprofit Organizations for More Effective Operations in Women's and Children's Healthcare Areas," is funded, in part, through a $12,500 matching grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation in St. Paul, Minn. The funding agreement was finalized Aug. 5.
According to Dennis Cooley, institute associate director and associate professor of history, philosophy and religious studies, many nonprofit groups are not equipped to be up-to-date with new techniques and information technologies.
"These organizations don't have the resources for necessary training. They don't have the personnel, and are often on a shoestring budget," Cooley explained. "We need a new way of training for nonprofit entities. In this project, we are focusing on organizations that deal with women and children."
The institute is offering 20 scholarships to nonprofit organizations for the once-per-month sessions. The training starts in September and continues through May 2010. Topics include governance, legal issues, fundraising, financial management, human resource administration, marketing, strategic planning, program development, collaborative relationships and leadership.
The program will include the facilities of NDSU's Group Decision Center and the services of Continuing Studies/Customized Education personnel at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Sessions are planned at NDSU, MSUM and in Fergus Falls and Alexandria, Minn.
Cooley said the effort is considered Phase I of a much larger project, which may include online training through NDSU Distance and Continuing Education. "It will eventually involve different universities and many non-profit organizations," Cooley said. "The training will not only work for our area, but it would translate well across the country."
The Northern Plains Ethics Institute promotes long-range planning and active participation in ethical and social issues facing the Red River Valley region. Cooley sees the program as a way to fulfill that mission. "We want to help people deal with important social or ethical issues, and we want to fulfill President Chapman's vision of an engaged university. We see this as the institute being a community member reaching out to other community members," he said.
Otto Bremer Foundation's mission statement calls for the organization to "assist people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities." It provides funds to projects and programs in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, with preference given to those in regions served by Bremer banks.